When a person is attacked and physically injured by a dog, there are several ways in which a victim can suffer physical and emotional harm.
Physical injuries caused by a dog attack can be severe, frequently requiring immediate emergency care and possibly long-term treatment.
The emotional and psychological injuries caused by a dog attack often last long after the medical treatment for physical injuries has ended.
Colorado law allows compensation for dog attack victims.
Expenses for Medical Treatment.
A person responsible for injury to another as a result of a dog attack is liable for reasonable and necessary medical expenses.
Reasonable and necessary medical expenses include emergency room care, surgery (including cosmetic surgery to attempt to repair scarring), hospitalization, doctor visits, medication, and any other expense resulting from the attack.
Reasonable and necessary medical expenses can also include visits with psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors to assist in treating and dealing with the emotional trauma.
Disfigurement / Scarring.
Dog bites (and resulting surgery) can cause significant scarring and permanent visible injury, legally known as “disfigurement.”
Dog bite victims can recover money damages for disfigurement.
The amount of damages a dog bite victim can recover depends on the severity and location of the scarring or permanent visible injury, the age of the dog bite victim, as well as other factors particular to the case.
For example: a woman with a permament three-inch scar on her face might recover more than a man would recover and a scar on the face is is generally worth more than the same-sized scar on the back of a leg.
Dog attacks that result in injuries almost always cause emotional distress to the dog bite victim.
Emotional Distress refers to the emotional suffering experienced by the dog bite victim as a result of the attack.
Colorado law allows a dog bite victim to recover compensation for emotional distress damages.
Lost Wages / Loss of Earning Capacity
A person who misses work or is unable to run their business as a result of a dog bite can recover lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and/or lost profits.
Lost wages are pretty straightforward and can be easy to calculate: the amount of money the dog attack victim lost because they were unable to work as an employee.
Loss of earning capacity is similar to lost wages and generally refers to a person’s inability to work and can be easy to calculate: the amount of money the dog attack victim lost because they were unable to work at or run their business.
A dog bite victim can usually shows lost wages / loss of earning capacity by using documentation including past pay stubs, past tax returns and in the case of a business owner – past profit and loss statements.
Colorado has a “wrongful death” statute which provides a claim for certain persons as a result of the death of a related person.
A parent, for example, can recover damages for the death of a child as a result of an dog attack.
A dog bite can result in serious injuries where the dog bite victim is no longer able to move in a certain way or is no longer physically able to perform certain tasks that they could perform before they were attacked by a dog. Lawyers call this physical impairment.
Compensation for physical impairment depends on several factors including the extent of the impairment and the age of the dog attack victim.
For example: If a dog bite victim will walk with a limp for the rest of their life they would be entitled to compensation for that physical impairment.